Baseball America–probably the most respected source of minor league and prospect rankings–has given the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system a huge jump up in their annual rankings of farm systems of all MLB teams.
In 2011, the D-Backs were only ranked 22nd. However thanks to a strong 2011 draft that featured likely future ace Trevor Bauer, the Diamondbacks shot all the way up to number 4 on the 2012 list, behind only the Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals and San Diego Padres. In November 2011, Baseball America ranked the Diamondbacks Top 10 prospects as follows:
1. Trevor Bauer, rhp
2. Archie Bradley, rhp
3. Tyler Skaggs, lhp
4. Jarrod Parker, rhp
5. Matt Davidson, 3b/1b
6. A.J. Pollock, of
7. David Holmberg, lhp
8. Chris Owings, ss
9. Wade Miley, lhp
10. Patrick Corbin, lhp
Bauer and Archie Bradley were 2011 draft picks. If he doesn’t make it out of camp, Bauer figures to make it to the big league this year. Bradley is only 19 and several years off but is a top level pitching prospect. Jarrod Parker has since been traded to the Oakland A’s. Tyler Skaggs has struggled a bit this spring but is still clearly one of the top 3 prospects in the D-Backs system.
Among the other names, Chris Owings and Patrick Corbin might cause D-Back fans to take the most immediate notice. A shortstop, Owings is having a strong spring and could be an option at an area of need for Arizona in the not too distant future. If Stephen Drew‘s ankle injury continues to drag out, and journeymen Willie Bloomquist and John McDonald fail to provide enough long term relief, Owings is the next best shortstop alternative in the Diamondbacks system.
Patrick Corbin’s path to the majors will likely be much quicker than Owings. Corbin has been perhaps the D-Backs best pitcher this spring, allowing just 1 run and 7 hits in 10.2 innings. There isn’t really any place for the lefty in the Diamondbacks pitching staff but that’s not preventing him from giving Kirk Gibson an incredibly difficult decision in the next couple of weeks.
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